Autumn Statement: The RHA's Asks for International
In June 2016, when the UK voted to leave the European Union, the business community knew that overseas operations would change. Many may have actively voted for that change on the back of the potential benefits espoused by the victorious campaign. Seven and a half years on from the vote, and nearly four years since we legally left the EU, our road haulage businesses operating overseas have seen increased bureaucracy and uncertainty.
Practically, the Government has helped EU goods remain accessible to UK consumers by postponing the introduction of border controls. We also do not doubt the efforts the Government has made in representing the interests of British businesses to their European counterparts as their trade barriers went up. But RHA members need certainty over the long term.
We expect the European Union to introduce their Entry Exit System in Q3 2024 and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System in 2025. UK Government is also developing its Border 2025 strategy, alongside a new Target Operating Model that is designed to make border crossings efficient and straightforward. We’re continuing to work with Government officials to ensure that there is full consultation with the industry on the introduction of any new systems at the UK-EU border, with serious consideration given to the practicalities of their implementation.
The question of the island of Ireland however remains one of the most politically and socially complex. Our members in Northern Ireland have concerns regarding a continuing lack of clarity over the details of the Windsor Framework. We are campaigning for the Government to provide certainty on who will run the Trusted Trader Scheme, for how long the Government intends to fund the Trader Support Service, and how the proposed ‘red’ and ‘green’ lanes will work in practice.
We still need clarity on groupage, as well as the processes for movements of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) products such as animal and plant-based goods.
We’re working hard to address these issues and get clarity for our members – holding roundtables between our members and Government officials, and relaying concerns to the highest levels of Government.
A natural reaction to increased border controls with Europe is to seek to exploit new opportunities in the rest of the world that our membership of the EU made commercially unviable. What Government needs to remember is that, for the road haulage industry, Europe is the only overseas opportunity, as we are not connected by road to anywhere else.